Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman greeted the 2009 Miss America contestants Thursday with an offer that pageant organizers emphatically turned down.
At a welcoming ceremony in sunny 69-degree weather in front of Planet Hollywood Resort, the host hotel, Goodman invited the pageant beauties to bring their bikinis on Monday to his swimming pool for a martini party. He told them his pool is "filled with gin," which may not be a stretch given the mayor's affinity for gin.
Sam Haskell, chairman of the board of the Miss America organization, didn't warm to the idea of the mayor's pool party.
"We appreciate the invitation but we won't be having any martinis," said Haskell, who followed Goodman, no stranger to martini controversies, to the microphone.
Later, Haskell told Vegas Confidential, "He's very nice but I just want to make it clear: Not these girls."
A mayoral hot chocolate party might have had a better chance. Some of the contestants were still thawing out from an arctic blast that has hit the eastern two-thirds of the United States. A few experienced a 100-plus-degree temperature change by coming to town. Make that a 114-degree difference for Miss South Dakota Alexandra Hoffman, who told the crowd her hometown of Eureka was minus 55, counting the wind chill factor.
The Miss America preliminaries are next week, with the finals Jan. 24 on TLC.
MOB MUSEUM NUMBERS
Armed with new numbers, the mayor is sticking to his guns on the Mob Museum.
"We're going to have a mob museum," Goodman said Thursday prior to welcoming the Miss America candidates.
He said the museum's board of directors says a new study shows the museum would attract nearly 600,000 visitors, not the 250,000 he's been citing.
Goodman said he attended a meeting in the past week that included Billy Vassiliadis of R&R Advertising, the powerhouse marketing firm that works with the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.
Goodman said he raised the question of what the dollar value would be in the publicity generated from having the museum mentioned in The New York Times, Time magazine, Esquire and on ABC's "This Week," where host George Stephanopoulos discussed it with President-elect Barack Obama and "Newt Gingrich opening his mouth."
The publicity was a response to the question of whether the $50 million museum should be part of the economic stimulus package.
Goodman said the number was calculated at $8 million.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Donny Osmond told a Las Vegas radio show Thursday that he may be on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" as soon as next season. "I'm really considering doing the show," Osmond told the Mark & Mercedes morning show on KMXB-FM 94.1. He said he's already figured out how he can do it: Move the starting time of the Donny & Marie show at the Flamingo to 8 p.m. so he can do the tapings in Los Angeles. ... Harrah's Las Vegas headliner Rita Rudner has signed a three-year extension. "I'm so excited I'm going to be at Harrah's for three more years," said Rudner. "Or as I like to think of it, for twelve more gowns." Harrah's Las Vegas president Don Marrandino called her "the leading lady of comedy and hands down has the funniest show on the Las Vegas Strip." Rudner moved to Harrah's in the fall of 2006 after six years at New York-New York.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Osama bin Laden has a new tape. They know it's a recent tape, because in it he describes Salma Hayek as being smoking hot at the Golden Globes." -- David Letterman